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Abstract

Aldo Nemesio argues in his article "The Comparative Method and the Study of Literature" for the comparative method as follows. Contemporary literary research is based on parameters and methods which do not appear to have evolved similar to other fields of inquiry. If the study of literature is concerned with literary behavior, for instance, the object of study cannot limit itself to a single author or to a limited number of authors and what surrounds them closely. Also, national boundaries are too narrow: what happens within the boundaries of a culture can be understood only if we relate it to what happens elsewhere. A comparative investigation tries to understand the working of those human activities that are related to writing, distributing, and reading objects which -- in ways that differ in different cultures -- are called literature. Literary studies have a longer history than most contemporary sciences: for this reason, literary studies are probably hampered by old habits and constrictions. A long-standing tradition and an established prestige is a hindrance to advantageous change. The most important task of contemporary literary scholars consists in overcoming the awe of their own traditions.

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